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15-Death Cold Wave Breaks Century-Old Records

November 12, 1986|From Times Wire Services

A record cold wave blamed for at least 15 deaths expanded Tuesday, dropping temperatures below zero in Iowa and Wisconsin, as a new snowstorm closed schools in Montana and threatened to bring a second blast of arctic air across the Midwest.

Cars refused to start and water pipes froze as low temperature records, some nearly a century old, were tied or broken in at least 30 cities across the Plains, upper Mississippi Valley and Great Lakes.

The weather dampened Veterans Day festivities across much of the nation.

The first widespread snow of the season fell on New York state. Travelers' advisories for a mixture of rain, sleet, freezing rain and snow were posted for much of the Northeast from Pennsylvania to Massachusetts and Vermont. Jeffersonville, N.Y., got eight inches of snow Tuesday.

Many Accidents

The slippery conditions caused numerous fender-benders and partial closure of a busy section of Route 23, which runs from New York into Massachusetts, after four tractor-trailers jackknifed. There were no injuries, authorities said.

At least three people died in traffic accidents on slippery roads in Nebraska, Massachusetts and Michigan, and a bus crashed in Ohio and injured seven people.

A 6-degree reading in Dubuque, Iowa, broke a record set in 1894, and Milwaukee's low of 15 tied an 1894 record.

Other cities with record lows were Duluth, Minn., 3 below zero; Minneapolis-St. Paul, 1 below; Grand Island, Neb., 8 below; Lincoln, Neb., 1 below, and Fargo, N.D., 4 below.

The coldest spot in the 48 contiguous states Tuesday was Valentine, Neb., at 17 degrees below zero.

At the other extreme, Jacksonville, Fla., warmed to a record 87 degrees, marking the city's fifth consecutive day of broken or tied records.

More Cold Air

A new blast of frigid air was expected to follow the storm, bringing another round of sub-zero temperatures today, the National Weather Service said.

A winter storm warning was issued for the western two-thirds of Montana as the fast-moving new storm threatened up to a foot of snow in the mountains and three to six inches at lower elevations. Schools were closed early throughout the state.

Visibility was reduced to zero in some areas of Montana, and the Kalispell area had an inch of snow per hour, with about a foot on the ground by dusk.

The weather service issued a blizzard warning Tuesday night for the extreme northeastern part of Wyoming.

The wintry weather, including the weekend blizzard that dumped a record 25 inches of snow in North Dakota, has been blamed for at least 15 total deaths in nine states since Friday.

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